I'm often asked how I take certain pictures...how I light the area (subject), what I look for etc. I thought I'd throw up some pictures from a recent shoot and just shed some light (no pun intended) on what I did to get the shot. Lighting is the blood necessary to run the body of good photography....and the difference between a good and great shot depends on the right lighting. I took these pictures at a nature reserve in Utah and it was beautiful. I added some shots below but the pictures I'm referring to for the tips are the top two. If you look at the second picture that is a good example of taking the picture under normal lighting. The light is in the front of the picture from my Nikon SB800 external flash on top of the camera. It lights the picture, and I'm able to bring out the background because of the slow shutter speed on the camera. The first picture is the exact same picture from a composition standpoint, but the lighting is much different. I used the following steps to take this picture:

Shooting with the Nikon D2XS:

  1. Set the camera on a tripod

  2. Set the camera on timer mode (as if you're going to take a picture of yourself)

  3. Set the camera to 30 second exposure
  4. Set aperture to 4.5f to allow the most light the lens could handle. Go lower if your lens can.
  5. Set ISO to 320....if I set it higher it would have made the picture brighter, but also more grainy. I wouldn't recommend going above 1200 ISO for this type of a shot.

  6. Set white balance to camera preset of "cloudy" mode...to allow for richer color.

  7. Shot in RAW.

  8. Focal length- 11m

  9. Focus- used manual focus....use a flashlight and shine it on the shack....you can then focus with the lens now that you can clearly see the shack.

  10. What I did:

  11. I pressed the trigger and ran into the shack while the 10-second self timer was counting down.

  12. Once the camera shutter opened I used my external flash SB800 and starting strobing the inside of the barn. This is what gave me the light coming out of the door and the wooden slats in the roof of the shack.

I could have done more but I ran out of time. Going back I would use video lights to on the back and sides of the shack to add additional elements to the picture as well as still done the inside lighting. I hope this is helpful to any photographer or enthusiast out there! Let me know and I'll continue to post tips on a weekly basis.